2023 Sports in Kansas Girls Basketball Coach of the Year Honors Released

Left to Right: Taylor Dugan, Rick Hetzel, Ann Fritz, Emmanuel Adigun, Bill Biermann, Perry Smith, Kristin Wiebe. not pictured Chris Biekmann. (photo: Terry Rinehart for Sports in Kansas)

Sports in Kansas has released its annual list of coach of the year winners across the seven classifications in Kansas. A media panel of over 35 members in Kansas vote to compile finalists and winners each and every year.

Capsules are provided by Conor Nicholl of Sports in Kansas. Media day was handled by Bethany Bowman of Sports in Kansas and Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas. Photos by Terry Rinehart for Sports in Kansas. Postseason honors are powered by Watco, Mammoth, Nex-Tech Wireless, SAFE, Lewis Automotive Group.

Sports in Kansas 6A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Ann Fritz, Blue Valley North

Ann Fritz of BV North

Longtime Blue Valley North coach Ann Fritz and Eureka girls’ coach Shelly Hoyt are the two most successful active female basketball coaches in Kansas history. This winter, Fritz captured her fourth state title, all at Blue Valley North.

North, the No. 3 seed, finished 21-4. North beat Wichita Southeast (57-45), defeated Derby (50-42) and came back to beat Washburn Rural, 35-34.

Fritz went 18-7 and won the 2005 6A title with BVN, along with a 23-3 mark and 6A crown in 2000. Plus, North finished 22-3 with a 6A title in 1998. Fritz and Hoyt, who won four straight with Hoxie from 2012-15, are now tied for state titles.  Blue Valley North lost in the state quarterfinals last year.

North didn’t lose after Feb. 10. Jaliya Davis led with 18.7 points and 10.3 rebounds, along with 58 percent shooting. Aubrey Shaw has Big 12 offers and delivered 13.7 points and 8.7 rebounds. Nyla Hale had 10.7 points and 2.7 assists per game. Tyara Davis finished with three steals a contest. North was preseason ranked second behind defending champion Washburn Rural.

Fritz cleared 600 career wins earlier this winter. She has coached at BVN since 1995. Before then, Fritz played basketball at Nebraska and led Center High in Kansas City, Mo. for seven years.

Sports in Kansas 5A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Taylor Dugan, Bishop Carroll/Rick Hetzel, St. Thomas Aquinas

Taylor Dugan of Bishop Carroll

Rick Hetzel captured his 11th state title at St. Thomas Aquinas. The Saints have won the last seven played in a row and were COVID Forever Four in 2020. Bob Harbour is Hetzel’s longtime assistant and has been with him for every state title team since the first one in 2001. Assistant coach Sam Paradise was a player on Hetzel’s first state team and has experience as a head coach at the collegiate and high school level.

Taylor Dugan (Stevens) was on the 2004 Bishop Carroll squad, the only BC girls’ basketball championship. The Golden Eagles were preseason eighth in 5A via the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, and Landon Forbes was the lone senior. Dugan, formerly Taylor Steven, played at Wichita State.

BC finished second to Aquinas. Both teams were 22-3. Aquinas held off rival St. James, 50-47, in the state semifinal and bested Carroll, 62-56, in the final. Carroll held off two high efficiency offenses with wins against Andover Central (58-47) and Andover (60-32).

Hetzel earned credit after Aquinas graduated several key seniors, notably Beatrice Culliton, the 5A Player of the Year and all-classes Gatorade Player of the Year. This marks the first time in several seasons Aquinas didn’t have a current Division I/MIAA commit on the roster.

 Sydney Watts, a Vanderbilt soccer signing, didn’t play basketball last season and rejoined the team. Freshman Alex Crouse was a breakout player. Junior Catherine Goodwin has committed to Division III Washington University in St. Louis. Hetzel has cleared 500 career wins.

Goodwin was first team all-league, Kelsey Schenk and Watts second team, Jamya McPherson third team and Crouse honorable mention. Schenk is an honorable all-state setter for Aquinas’ state championship volleyball team.

Rick Hetzel of STA.

Aquinas, known for its moderate pace, shot 61 percent in the state title game behind six players. Goodwin dished eight assists, while Crouse, Watts, McPherson and Schenk all finished in single figures. Zoe Macrorie played 10 minutes off the bench, the lone reserve who saw time in the final. Aquinas averaged a terrific 1.13 points per possession in the title game. The semifinal had 54 possessions, and Aquinas averaged just under a point per possession.

Carroll enjoyed a plus-4 win improvement off last winter. Last year, Dugan led her alma mater to state for the first time since 2018. This season marks Dugan’s 11th leading the program.

Congrats to Bishop Carroll girls head coach Taylor Dugan on earning 5A coach of the year honors from Sports in Kansas. We are proud of you and the 2023 state runner-up team! Bishop Carroll Athletics and Bishop Carroll High School are proud to support Bishop Carroll!

Sports in Kansas 4A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Emmanuel Adigun, Hugoton

Emmanuel Adigun of Hugoton

Hugoton’s Emmanuel Adigun is among the state’s most well-liked and respected coaches. Adigun led Hugoton to third and second place finishes in 3A the last two winters. This winter, Hugoton moved up to 4A as one of the state’s smallest schools in that classification. Hugoton was the second smallest 4A in Kansas and less than half of the size of the largest school in the class.

Adigun had three seniors who were all four-year starters. The trio has each signed to a Division I/II school: Mikyn Hamlin, Summya Adigun and Gianna Vos. All three cleared 1,000 career points, the first time that’s happened to a Kansas girls’ basketball team in at least seven years.

 Hamlin, a Wyoming signing, suffered a knee injury in the summer. Hugoton opened 3-4 with losses to Arkansas powerhouse Fort Smith, 6A Liberal, 3A Cimarron and 3A Scott City. Cimarron eventually finished 19-4. In the Jan. 6 Scott City loss, Abi Slocum, another starter, went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Adigun, known for his charisma and positivity, was also dealing with health issues with his son, Adrian, a middle schooler and quality basketball player. Adrian had a severe health scare in the summer.

Adigun kept preaching “next player up” as Hugoton had to use JV players with no prior varsity experience. Hamlin played around four minutes Jan. 10 in a game against Hooker, Okla. Then, Hamlin played around 12 minutes and made a couple of treys in a 54-46 loss to Goodland that essentially decided the GWAC title. Goodland went 26-0 this season and is the back-to-back 3A state titlist.

Hamlin continued to come back. Hugoton won the Sterling Invitational tournament, including victories against Southeast of Saline and Scott City. After the SC loss, the Eagles finished 16-2 and took third after a semifinal loss to Bishop Miege. Longtime Hugoton assistant Jeff Ramsey has coached with the Eagles for 11 years. Ramsey noted Adigun’s leadership and positive attitude throughout the year through adversity. Hugoton finished 19-6.

Congrats to the Hugoton Eagles on an awesome 2022-2023 season! Congrats to all of our players and coaches on a fantastic season. We are proud of you. A big congrats to Coach Adigun as the 4A COY from SIK! – from Hugoton High School and Hugoton High School Athletics.

Congratulations Coach Adigun for being chosen the 4A girls coach of the year!  Farm Bureau Financial Services-Jeff Ramsey Agency and the Hugoton Sports Boosters are very proud of you as is the entire Hugoton community and fans!

Sports in Kansas All-Classes & 3A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Bill Biermann, Goodland

Bill Biermann of Goodland

Goodland navigated a highly challenging 3A slate and won its second straight state title. The Cowgirls have Kansas’ longest current winning streak at 39 games. Goodland went 26-0 with a generational-type team and talent with Talexa Weeter. Biermann helped completely transform the Goodland girls’ basketball program. Goodland also won the first GWAC league title in program history. The Cowgirls are known for their 1-3-1 defense. Goodland returned all but one player from last season. Biermann effectively used his bench, especially when key players were hurt/in foul trouble at state.

Biermann served as the head boys’ coach at Wichita County from 1999-2003. He is in his 12th year as Goodland’s superintendent, fifth with girls’ basketball. Goodland won four games his first season, 12-11, 18-4, 24-2 and 26-0. The last two seasons mark the most wins in program history. Before last year, Goodland had not made state since 2006, a championship game since 1992 or a state title since 1980. This is the only undefeated Goodland season in program annals.

Goodland defeated 19-win Cimarron twice, 4A third-place finisher Hugoton, 14-win 5A Hays High, 6A Garden City, Frontenac, Silver Lake and Cheney. Goodland won every game before state by at least seven points. The Cowgirls had an average score of 58-32. Last season, Goodland’s average score was 56-33.

The back-to-back 3A State Champions have been coached by the back-to-back All-Class Coach of the year.  Congratulations Coach Biermann!  The Black and Gold Booster Club, Goodland High School, and the Goodland Community are very proud to have you represent us as our coach and our district leader.

Sports in Kansas 2A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Kristin Wiebe, Berean Academy

Kristin Wiebe of Berean Academy

Berean Academy took losses to league rival Sterling in the regular season and again in the state semifinals. Sterling was back-to-back 2A champion and had taken massive graduation losses. BA was the preseason No. 1 team and was the favorite all winter. The Warriors never lost to a KSHSAA team. BA ranked No. 1 for all classes in defense for part of the winter, per Massey Ratings that includes strength of schedule. Kristin Wiebe is in her 18th year of coaching, all at Berean. She has a 342-85 record.

“The 2023 Berean Lady Warrior team was a special team to coach because they embraced the discipline it took to do the tedious little things everyday, along with an attitude of serving one another,” Wiebe said. “Each young lady bought into her individual role, which was needed in order to compete each day with passion, excellence, and perspective.”

BA finished 25-1 and won 14 straight contests after a loss to non-KSHSAA Sunrise Christian Academy. BA allowed 27.4 points allowed per game. The Warriors defeated Central Plains (46-29) and Eureka (45-42), both state qualifiers. BA also beat Inman, 37-18. Inman freshman Suttyn Harris averaged more than 20 points per game. The Warriors won every game by at least 13 points. BA beat Hoxie (41-25), Hillsboro (39-26) and Riverside (48-31). BA has six seniors, including 6-footer Tayton Smith and 6-1 Leah Mullins.

Sports in Kansas 1A-I Girls’ Coach of the Year: Perry Smith, Doniphan West

Perry Smith of Doniphan West

Perry Smith has continually had teams overachieve based on preseason and outside expectations. This winter, Doniphan West was outside the top-10 in the preseason coaches’ poll. The highly respected Smith led DW to the first state title in program history. Doniphan West ended Central Plains’ run in the state quarterfinals. CP had won every contested state title from ’14-22 and was a COVID Forever Four team. DW came back to beat Norwich in the semifinals and held off Quinter in a 55-49 championship win. Smith and his coaching staff made several key decisions at state.

DW kickstarted the comeback against Norwich when they changed their press and moved Brennah Edie to the middle. In the championship, Smith talked with DW post Avery Weathersbee on taking away the right shoulder of Quinter 6-2 post Anna Briggs, a left-handed shooter.

Kyra Johnson missed two front end one-and-one free throws late against Quinter. She stepped to the line again, and assistant Jim Leatherman told her to take a deep breath. Johnson did and made four in a row. DW had great athleticism and focused on its transition game each practice.

DW had three seniors: Johnson, Weathersbee and Claire Cole, who had played together since third grade. They combined for two state cross country titles, third place in volleyball and third and first in basketball. They are the most successful girls’ group in school history.

Smith comes from a family of longtime coaches. He is 245-205 overall with one season with the Atchison County boys, 11 with the Wetmore girls and seven at DW. Smith is 101-64 in seven years with the Mustangs.

Johnson finished with 11.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.2 deflections, three assists and 2.8 steals per game. She shot 45 percent, including 38 percent from 3-point range. Weathersbee had 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds with 54 percent shooting. Cole had 8.3 points and 1.5 deflections. Edie had eight points, three rebounds and three assists a contest.

Smith has a fourth-place finish with Wetmore in ’12 and ’16 and a state qualification with Wetmore in ’15. He led DW to a third-place showing in ’21, a year where the Mustangs were preseason ranked eighth.

He has also coached football, three years as a Midway-Denton assistant and three years as a DW head coach. This marked Smith’s first final and championship of his girls’ basketball career.

“Our team really bought into our goals of playing as a team and getting better everyday,” Smith said. “We were playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and as a coach that’s all you can ask for. I was very fortunate to have great kids and good basketball players to bring the 1st girls basketball State Championship to Doniphan West.”

Sports in Kansas 1A-II Girls’ Coach of the Year: Chris Beikmann, Hanover

Hanover enjoyed a dominant 26-0 season under coach Chris Beikmann. The Wildcats rolled with wins by 31, 21 and 25 points, including a win against Lebo in the championship. Hanover was the first undefeated Class 1A, Division II since Ingalls was 26-0 in 2013. The Wildcats are the third ever one in the classification since 1A-II was formed in 2011.

Beikmann has won the three Hanover girls’ basketball titles. In ’17-18, Hanover repeated with the 1A-I crown with 24-2 and 21-3 marks. Hanover was also COVID Forever Four in 2020. Beikmann is a Hanover graduate and the Wildcats’ longtime football defensive coordinator.  Hanover won every game by at least eight points and twice defeated Twin Valley League foe Doniphan West, the 1A-I champion.

Hanover had an undefeated season with no star: sophomore Anna Jueneman, seniors Massey Holle and Ceegan Atkins and junior Tessa Lohse all averaged between 8.5 and 13 points per game. Hanover shot 42 percent from the field, 31 percent from the 3-point line and 65 percent from the foul line.

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